It’s Year End: When Financial Services Professionals Call

Here it comes… the last weeks before year end 2012, and what a year. From a financial point of view, it’s the most active time as wealth managers and business owners re-think their strategies and plan ahead.  Meanwhile, a historic hurricane, a historic Election, and a looming Fiscal Cliff and it’s enough to make you dizzy.  So what can we top that with as we wrap up 2012?


Well as it turns out nothing as exciting. Because as year end comes to a close it brings forth waves of financial services professionals from all walks of life to your doorstep. Some of these professionals work at major banking institutions, while others work for smaller firms. Most will tend to focus on a specific market segments and/or wealth concentration areas, such as middle market business owners.

These days, however, there seems to be quite the proliferation of new certifications along with their associated acronyms from A to Z covering every conceivable financial service twice over. And on the one hand that’s good, as industry professionals seek to be recognized and stand out more. But on the other hand, when even I can’t follow the number of new 3-letter acronyms I see on business cards these days, something has to give, no?

That’s why as year end approaches and the time comes to hire experts to get your financial house in order, it’s a good time to recognize what you’re getting for your money… And while most business owners know the importance of having a CPA on their management team for accounting and tax issues, beyond that designation, the increasing number of new acronym credentials spreading like wild fire is confusing clients. This is why I am here to help.

A good rule of thumb is to start with the most widely recognized certifications and licenses, like a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), the name says it all right up front.  Or you may run across a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), a top drawer professional designation for financial analysis. But what if you’re looking for someone more specific to help you with estate planning, retirement planning, insurance planning, etc? If that’s the case then you need to know more about which certifications, education, and professional licensing to look for.

Enter a great article here at Investopedia (the online wiki-library resource of financial terms)  which tries to sort it out. You should read it, because the author clearly identifies which key Licenses and Certifications such as a ‘Series 7’ for investment bankers like me who advise business owners on how and when to sell their business, are important.  And it’s not a long list of 3-letter acronyms either, in part because the time, effort, and advanced education coursework required to attain, and maintain these best of breed credentials sort the wheat from the chaff for you.

So be sure to read the article before year end 2012. This way, the next time you get a call from an MBA, CPA, CFP, CBB, ABC or XYZ  professional looking to help you with the most important decisions in your life,  you won’t have to worry about which Certifications and Licenses they have  matter most, and which don’t…